The Performance Pro

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Avoiding the Title of "Jerk"

In finding words to describe a jerk, I would imagine ‘lack of manners’ and ‘showing no regard for others’ might be a couple of the attributions mentioned. The interesting thing about "jerkhood" is that it is a quality usually not recognized by the person holding the title. I imagine there are times when we all may be of guilty of “jerkism” but when it becomes a habit it can be detrimental to relationships and one's very existence. Being a chronic jerk is just not "a good thing."
In Ken Lloyd's book on Jerks at Work, he states, "As tough as work is, particularly in light of the long and arduous hours that men and women are now putting into their job, work can be turned into sheer torture by the presence of just one jerk. Even sadder is the fact that many organizations and even many departments would rejoice if they only had one jerk."
There are symptoms of the condition. These may be things like: noticing your friends flee; not being included in casual social events; co-workers stop talking when you enter the room; or, you find yourself in the middle of frequent conflicts. Just in case you think you might have caught the affliction, ask yourself the following questions:

If someone is a different personality make up from you, do you:
1. Accept then and try to get to know them better and find the bonds you may have?
2. React negatively because you feel uncomfortable?
3. Just ignore them, knowing you have nothing in common?
4. Act rude to them, making you feel like a "bigger" person?

In tense situations, do you:
1. Act quickly to smooth and quietly make things better?
2. Get tense and upset too?
3. React with anger, using harsh words?
4. Speak your piece and make the situation worse?

When talking about others, do you:
1. Never say a bad thing about anyone?
2. Never talk about anyone else?
3. Tell all and then some?
4. Think it makes you look good if you tell bad things about others?

When others are trying to listen to something, do you:
1. Sit quietly and respect their rights?
2. Save you comment for after the meeting?
3. Make comments and disrupt the silence of others?
4. Use this as a captive audience for your own platform?

Do you greet your co-workers by name each day:
1. Always?
2. Frequently?
3. Seldom?
4. Never?

Total the number of your choices. If the total number is:
5-10 Congratulations! You are free from jerkism and an inspiration to others.
11-15 You undesirable tendencies are showing. Be alert to them and tread lightly.
16-20 You are undoubtedly deserving of the title bestowed upon you.

The good news? You can avoid the title of “Jerk” by recognizing the tendencies that get you into trouble and committing to wanting to change your behavior.
--List reasons why you want to change your behavior.
--Identify your most common offenses.
--Make a regular practice of supporting self-talk(Ex. In the shower, turning the car key. “I will make…” "I will do...." "Today I will be..."
--Make a plan for handling these situations better.
--Think in terms of “you” not “I”.
--Make someone’s day
--Be a messenger of kindness
--When hit with a challenge, take a deep breath and think, how can I turn this around?
--Keep an Achievement count – how many times did you avoid being a jerk today?
--Share your goals with someone close to you.
--If you ‘fall off the wagon”, choose the high road. Quickly remedy the situation. It take a big person to say two tiny words, “I’m sorry.”
--Turn to a higher power for help on your life journey.


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